Waxing: What you should know

pubic hair waxing

If you absolutely hate shaving – and the irritating small bumps that often appear after shaving – then you are definitely not alone. Fortunately, there are myriad methods to choose from when it comes to hair removal—some more costly, some more complicated, some more painful, some longer-lasting than the next. Also, there are alternatives to shaving that are more convenient while also providing amazing results.

However, one of the most commonly selected forms of hair removal is waxing.

Waxing is when a warm, melted wax is applied to the skin in strips, following the same direction as hair growth, then pulled off in the opposite direction. The heat causes the hair follicles to dilate slightly, making it easier for the entire hair, including the root, to be removed.

Best for - Small areas such as the upper lips, eyebrows, and bikini area.

Safety concerns: You shouldn’t wax any areas on which you regularly apply Retin A. Because it helps shed dead layers, Retin A can thin the skin; waxing that skin can cause redness, irritation, and damage.
Waxing can also cause ingrown hairs, especially in the bikini area. To minimize the risk, exfoliate skin before waxing; dead skin cells can clog the hair follicles and contribute to the risk of ingrown hairs.

The biggest issue with waxing is the potential for bacterial infection. “Each time the applicator stick is dipped back into the wax it can spread infection,” warns Jani. Waxing practitioners should always use a new stick for each client, and should really use a new stick for each application. Double-dipping—especially when it comes to Brazilian bikini waxes, which removes hair from the labia and around the anus—is asking for trouble. “Those areas have thinner, more sensitive skin, and by continuing to reuse the same stick, there is greater potential for translocation of bacteria,” she says.

How effective is it? Because waxing removes hair at the root, the results can last up to four weeks. You’ll need to let the hair grow to about a quarter of an inch before you can wax again. And while you can safely wax at any time of the month, it may be more painful if you do so in the days leading up to your period because the skin is more sensitive. Taking some ibuprofen before your appointment may help.

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